Yes, I made a mistake.*

Without a doubt, these are the hardest words in the English language to say.

I MADE A MISTAKE.

I know this for a fact. I’ve learned and relearned this “rule” a bagillion times. “Bagillion” is a lot more than a billion by the way. A gillion more. My daughter Niki says “bagillion” a lot.

When I was younger, my dad used to say to me, ” Just admit what you did, say you;re sorry and things will be better. He was right. If I did something wrong, say on a Saturday, he would ground me for a week but by Tuesday, if I said I was sorry, he’d say OK, you’re not grounded any more. It always worked!

In hindsight, I may not have learned the same lesson he was trying to teach me.

Now if my mom said I was grounded for a week, it didn’t matter how many times I said I was sorry. A week meant “A Week!”
So what gives? My Mom was stricter than my Dad? No way!

But, it was the same lesson I tried to teach my kids. After some misbehavior, I would tell them to just admit it, say your’e sorry and things will be better. They just didn’t seem to get it like I thought they would. It took me four years to find out who broke the kitchen light fixture! No one admitted it for 4 years! I knew I’d never make it as a teacher.

For me though, I found it hard to admit my mistakes. What would others think of me? If I deny it they won’t think I’m stupid, or that I don’t belong or I’m not qualified. I spent so much time trying not to make a mistake, I think I missed out on a lot of life.

I was so worried I tried to not make any mistakes, taking the safe routes always, covering my tracks endlessly.
I was exhausted!

A few weeks ago, I spoke at a seminar and I talked about negotiations. Not contract negotiations but negotiations as in negotiating life situations. As I usually do, I used some real life examples that I had experienced. One of the areas I discussed was how I had made a mistake and it cost my employer plenty to cover it. I had written about it in this blog.

click the link: title=”My Mistake”> http://wp.me/p3VT6N-9z

As I finished my presentation I asked for questions. One of the attendees stood up and said that what he gained the most from my remarks was that I admitted I had made a mistake, the mistake I spoke of in my blog. I had stated that not only had I made A mistake, I had made 4 of them! After each mistake compounded and led to another mistake, when I was finally confronted by my boss I…admitted…it.

Yes, I had misspoke at the bargaining table. Yes, I had given the union more than I was authorized. Yes, they had gladly accepted my mistake. Surprisingly, I didn’t get fired. My supervisors all felt it was an “honest” mistake, my explanation was accepted and I was forgiven.

The attendee said what amazed him the most was that at most of the seminars he had attended, the speaker usually spoke of all their successes and I spoke about my mistakes!

Why did I do that?
Well, I can always find ways to talk about my successes but every one does that.
No one wants to utter a word about the mistakes made.

I think my Dad was on to something.
I had connected to my audience when I admitted my mistakes. They were interested in hearing that I may have been just like them – not an expert talking down to them but someone just like them.

Nowadays, in my life, I don’t have any problem saying I made a mistake. Yes, I may be embarrassed by some of them.
I’ve learned it’s not worth it to deny them. Yes, I did do that!

Thanks for the life lesson Dad. You were right all along.

I have made plenty of mistakes. And, I’ll probably keep making them.
Hopefully, I’ll learn something from each and every one of them.
I’m not perfect, I’m not a perfectionist, I’ll often take the easiest route.

I’m human after all…sometimes.

JT

check out the video.. William Control (Noir)